Control of mind: Channels for sublimating mental energy – Love and devotion (contd.)

Love comprehends in itself the different advantages belonging to other paths leading to emancipation, and is in itself the most distinguished and effective path. It is at once characterized by self-sacrifice and happiness.

Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is accompanied by an exclusive and wholehearted offering to the Beloved without admitting the claims of any other object. Thus there is no room for the diversion of mental energy, and concentration is complete.

When love is deep and intense, it is called bkakti, or devotion. In its initial stages devotion is expressed through symbol worship, supplication before the deities, reverence and allegiance to the revealed scriptures, or the pursuit of the Highest through abstract thinking.

In its more advanced stages devotion expresses itself as interest in human welfare and the service of humanity, love and reverence for saints, and allegiance and obedience to a spiritual Master.

Love for a living Perfect Master is a unique stage of devotion, for it eventually gets transformed into para-bhakti, or divine love.

Para-bhakti is not merely intensified bhakti. It begins where bhakti ends. At the stage of para-bhakti, devotion is not only single-minded but is accompanied by extreme restlessness of the heart and a ceaseless longing to unite with the Beloved.

This highest phase of love is most fruitful because it has as its object the One who is love incarnate and who can, as the supreme Beloved, respond to the lover most completely. The purity, sweetness, and efficacy of the love that the lover receives from the Master contributes to the insuperable spiritual value of this highest phase of love.

-Extracted from ‘Discourses’, 7th ed., pp54-56

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